Kumamoto #7: Watermelon (スイカ)

Kumamoto is the highest producer of that quintessential summer fruit, the watermelon, and its 7th card reflects that. Anyone who has tried to buy watermelon in Japan knows it’s a pretty expensive fruit. It is hard for me to justify the price when I know just how cheap and big they are back home, but I can never resist… it’s my favorite fruit! (Well, one of them anyway!)

When I was in Kumamoto last summer I didn’t have the chance to look around for any watermelon to buy, but I did find watermelon soda for sale, and grabbed some to try. I’m not sure I’d buy it again, but it was almost as refreshing as an actual slice of watermelon.

Postcard and the watermelon-themed cooler the drinks were kept in

This summer I will have to see if my local supermarket gets in any Kumamoto watermelons to take a picture with. Meanwhile, I can’t wait to eat them again!

Miyazaki #5: Hyuuganatsu Fruits (日向夏)

Miyazaki is a prime producer of citrus along with its super-famous mangoes, and one type of citrus that seems to have been developed in Miyazaki is called the hyuuganatsu. Hyuuga is what the area of Miyazaki used to be called, and “natsu” means summer. However I have done a TON of research about this WINTER-growing citrus and why the heck it’s got summer in its name has completely escaped me. Seriously, I have no clue.

But anyway, confusing names aside, this is a sweetish fruit that is often eaten plain with sugar. Since I visited Miyazaki in, again, summer and this fruit despite the name grows in the winter (ugh), I couldn’t try the actual fruit itself. However its a popular flavor of all sorts of different sweets, including ice cream, so here are a few pictures.

I had to get help to take this picture!

These look like ripe hyuuganatsu, but they’re actually jelly.

I really enjoyed the ice cream, it was very refreshing. I’d love to try the citrus itself. And…you know, find out why it’s called hyuuganatsu (can you tell that really bothers me?).

Miyazaki #1: Mangoes (マンゴー)

The production of mangoes, Miyazaki’s first postcard, started in 1985 but took several years to show success. Miyazaki has a sub-tropical climate and lots of sun and rain, which is good for mangoes. I love these yummy fruits, but the Miyazaki brand-name ones come at a VERY dear price in my cold corner of Japan. The best of the best can go for 300000 yen! Wow! Even the more moderately priced mangoes at my local supermarket are still more expensive than most fruits, so I don’t get to eat them often. Still, there are lots of mango-flavored products for sale in Japan, so even if the fresh fruit is too expensive, there are other ways to eat it.

We brought home some mango-flavored jellies from our Kyushu trip which were delicious.

Real mangoes for sale, 1800 yen for one!

More reasonable-priced mango flavored goods for sale at Miyazaki Station

Mango ice cream, yum!

Have you eaten a mango today?